Pillow Picnic; photo Noor Eemaan

“The Pillow is a magical dance establishment focused on engaging the community in art, conservation, socialization, and enlightenment,”

Angessa L. Hughmanick, Alum of The School at Jacob’s Pillow 2009 Jazz Program.

Pillow Intern Asia Myles-Funches sat down with Pillow Alum Angessa L. Hughmanick to discuss visiting the Pillow as a young patron. Read more below for the inside scoop!

What inspires you to support the Pillow twelve years after being here as a student?

My experience immediately impacted my life–emotionally and artistically. I kept coming back over the years. Now, I want to be at the Pillow every day! In this space, I am unplugged and present in the moment. Nothing else matters. All I have to do at the Pillow is breathe in fresh air and take in the pure beauty of dance. That’s why this place is so special. You can bring friends or come alone, see a free show, picnic, and grab a drink at the pub.

I love seeing the parking lot full because I know it’s not just in my own mind. All the buzz creates more energy, which makes me want to visit even more!  Plus, introducing new people is easy because it’s a place that you don’t have to invest in right away. There are entry points for everyone.

Describe your perfect day at the Pillow.

Angessa L. Hughmanick at Gala 2018; photo Tsushima
Angessa L. Hughmanick at Gala 2018; photo Cherylynn Tsushima


My favorite day of the year is the Pillow Gala! After it is over, I am honestly sad for a few days. Fortunately, the Festival is June-August, so I visit throughout the summer to cure my nostalgia.

A perfect Pillow day begins with an early morning stretch in the studio prior to the 8am community ballet class. After class, the dancers of The School at Jacob’s Pillow are warming up in the new Perles Family Studio. It’s an opportunity to see the backstage of it all—the performers preparing in the Bakalar Studio, trucks unloading the next visiting company, and the production crew running tutus and lighting from theater to theater. The open-door policy at the Pillow offers so much fun insight.


On a full day, I go home to refresh and come back for cocktails with friends. We typically grab a spot at an Inside/Out performance then grab an appetizer before the ticketed show. I can’t go home without comparing notes with others. Need I say more? This day likely ends with a performance debrief at the pub with friends, other patrons, and if I’m lucky maybe even an artist.

Spend a full day at the Pillow

Pillow People; photo Noor Eemaan

Summer nights at the Pillow are filled with impeccable dance, a historical landscape, fancy drinks, decadent food, and interesting people of all ages and from all parts of the world. Enjoy a picnic on the Great Lawn with friends and attend one of our many free events! Inside/Out performances are great for a date night with your partner. Discover the rich history of Jacob’s Pillow in a Guided Tour, engage in Talks, explore Exhibits, and visit The Archives. Feeling hungry? Take it up a notch! Make a reservation at The Old Inn On The Green at the Pillow then stay for a performance in one of our theaters. Our national and international artists bring new and exciting cultural exposure to communities all year long.

“Jacob’s Pillow gives patrons a worldly outlook. Just by sitting in the audience you are receiving an education you would not receive anywhere else”.

For those who enjoy dancing more than watching, begin your day by taking a morning class or dance alongside Festival artists on the Pillow’s outdoor stage or in a historic studio. Check out the full schedule of Classes and Special Workshops. Follow us on social media to get ideas for your next Berkshire escape.

Events curated with YOU in mind

Cast Party; photo Hayim Heron
Cast Party; photo Hayim Heron

The Pillow creates space for young dance enthusiasts to meet, mingle, and groove with local and international artists.

Hear it from DJ BFG:

“The dancers and the performers and the staff and the interns are all on the dance floor at the same time. The result is that there are these really over-the-top dance-offs…It’s a party that’s equally fun if you’re in the middle of the dance floor and on the edges as a spectator”.

Read more in The Berkshire Eagle.